Here’s why more South Africans are getting divorced – and their age when they do

Legal expert Von Ludwig says that South Africans are in a state of disharmony about money following years of economic stagnancy in the country.

Talking to Bruce Whitfield on Radio 702, family law attorney Von Ludwig said that we as South Africans live in a society of fear.

“Of course the first place that it affects, is at home. Our matrimonial harmony is not great in this country.

“We are also living very much in a consumer world where if you don’t like something, you can dispose of it and get another one. People don’t stick to their marriages as they did before.”

The most recent stats for South Africa, published in May 2018 showed a slight uptick in marriages of 0.6% in marriages year on year, at 139,512 civil marriages in SA.

The highest number of marriages was registered in Gauteng 36,413 (26.1%) followed by KwaZulu-Natal 21,440 (15.4%) and Western Cape 20,565 (14.7%).

The report, by StatsSA, focused on civil marriages, customary marriages and civil unions that were registered in 2016 in the South African national marriage registration systems maintained by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

This includes trends in the number of marriages and unions as well as demographic and other dynamics among married partners.

The median age of bridegrooms remain unchanged at 36 years whilst the median age of brides increased by a year from 31 years to 32 years. The majority of bridegrooms (81.5%) and brides (86.4%) had not been married before.


The report also highlighted the number of divorces granted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

It noted that there was a 0.3% increase in divorces to 25,260 divorces granted from 25,326 before.

The median age of males and females remained the same with 44 years and 40 years respectively. Of these about 51.1% of divorces were filed by women while men filed 34.2% divorce cases.

While the statistics from the annual divorce data do not give a comprehensive picture of the number of marriages ending in divorce, the report found that the largest number (26.9%) of divorces were for marriages that lasted between five and nine years.

This group is followed by marriages that lasted between ten and fourteen years (19.6%) and marriages that lasted for less than five years (17.5%).

Statistically this means that about 44.4% of divorces came from marriages that did not celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary.

Read: Make sure these divorce mistakes don’t cost you

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Here’s why more South Africans are getting divorced – and their age when they do